What do you do after spending precious, quality time with the persons you admire most in life, who have accompanied you and taught you incredible things about what it means to be family, community?
That’s what it was like for the followers of Jesus when he ascended from their midst. Suddenly, they were left in charge. I’m reminded of the countless time that I have heard, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” Usually, it’s when someone is in trouble and no one seems to know what to do.
What must it have felt like to be left in charge? Jesus told his followers to proclaim the Good News to every creature. And he told them to expect to see the signs—the healing of the sick, the casting out of demons, and speaking in tongues. Were these intended for that time only? Jesus is clear about that. He says “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” And Mark, the evangelist, tells us that they went forth and preached everywhere. The Lord continued to work with and through them to accomplish the signs–demons driven out, new languages spoken, incredible healings.
How do we keep from standing there looking at the sky? At every Mass, we are sent forth on mission. Go forth and live the Gospel! Go forth and spread the Good News! Preach always, with your lives!
The Eucharist empowers us, strengthens us for the task, puts us on fire for the mission. After being fed in mind, body, and spirit by the Eucharistic celebration, we SING our way out of the church. The words to our recessional remind us, prod us and keep us from just standing there. We go out with the strength of our community as disciples of Jesus.